Happy Bank Holiday Monday! Today is a big day! Not just because it’s an extra day off work, or because it follows pay day, or because it feels like the first long weekend of summer. Today is a big day because The Lean Body Jumpstart VIP Challenge is officially underway! This is the holistic 30 day fitness, nutrition and lifestyle jumpstart to establish healthy habits for life and start feeling seriously awesome in time for summer. Don’t worry, there’s still time to get involved if you don’t have yours yet. Everything you need is contained within one easy-to-follow ebook, so the challenge starts when you do. And there’s a private Facebook community for group and 1-2-1 support if you want a little extra motivation along the way.
Of course, I couldn’t do all of this all on my own. For this exciting new project, I proudly partnered with Cantara Armah from award-winning fitness and lifestyle blog Gymbags & Gladrags. Cantara’s blog has gone from strength to strength as she has shared her personal fitness journey over the last few years, tracking weight loss, fine-tuning her diet and sharing effective and healthy ways to get stronger, become leaner and feel more confident from the inside out. I wanted to learn a little more about what gets her out of bed and into her trainers, so she kindly agreed to answer my most pressing questions and open up to the Fit Brit Collective community. Read on to learn more about Cantara, then click here to find out more about our ebook and how to jumpstart your fitness (now available from only £9 as a limited time introductory offer).
You started Gymbags and Gladrags anonymously. What was your motivation for blogging, and why did you keep your blog a secret to begin with?
Gosh, that feels like so long ago now! I started Gymbags and Gladrags because I wanted to improve my health and fitness but struggled with sustaining my motivation long enough to see a real difference. I hoped starting a blog would help me connect to other girls on a similar journey and help to boost my motivation (it did!) but I didn’t want all my friends and family to know that I was ‘on a diet’ or blogging about salads and the like. I was never anonymous as my name was on my blog and social media, I just kept it all a secret from people I knew in real life.
People love the real you behind your blog! No gimmicks, no over filtering/photoshopping, nothing but your genuine pursuit of health and balance. Are there any hard and fast ‘rules’ you live/blog by?
To always be myself and to be useful to my readers. When I started out, my blog was all about me; what I was eating, what workouts I wanted to do… My blog is still about me to some degree but now I focus more on helping my readers. I will never write a post like ‘How to lose 20lbs in 10 days’ because that is just not healthy. Instead, I focus on long-term health and I ignore the quick fixes and faddy diets.
What’s the ultimate mission behind Gymbags and Gladrags?
To become even more useful for my readers. There is a lot of faddy information out there on how to lose weight and improve your health, from weight loss pills to starvation diets to detox teas. I want Gymbags and Gladrags to be a resource people can trust. A place full of tips and advice that won’t require you to spend hours in the gym, have no social life, be scared of a certain food or go bankrupt over your food shop. Instead, I want Gymbags and Gladrags to become a supportive and positive community that will improve your long-term health.
You’ve done Psycle challenges, barre challenges and tried loads of London’s most iconic workouts. What’s your favourite exercise and why?
It’s still Psycle! I just don’t enjoy running (I’ve tried, I really have), but I’ve fallen in love with spin and Psycle is just addictive. It feels more like a night out than a workout – minus the hangover!
Before we released The Lean Body Jumpstart, you were the first to test run the workouts. What has your personal experience with the training?
I really enjoy the workouts – they were tougher than I thought! I’ve done several HIIT workouts in my time, lifted weights heavier than my bodyweight and sweated it out in some of London’s top studios, so I was a bit surprised at how sweaty I was from The Lean Body Jumpstart workouts. I love that you can do them anywhere! It really gives me no excuses on those days when I just don’t feel like going to the gym.
The recipes in The Lean Body Jumpstart are personal favourites of yours. How important is cooking as part of your weight loss and fitness journey?
Cooking is how I really learned to eat healthily. Lots of convenience foods have added sugars, salts and additives; by cooking your own meals you can avoid all of that and really get creative in the kitchen. For The Lean Body Jumpstart, I really wanted the recipes to be as faff-free as possible. We don’t always have the time to spend hours in the kitchen, so a lot of the recipes can be made in under 30 minutes.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your pursuit of your optimal fitness and ideal body shape?
To enjoy the journey. I used to be so hung up on the end result. I tried endless quick fixes that only made me further from my goal in the end. Now I try to enjoy every workout; celebrating each time I can lift a bit heavier or do an additional rep and each time I make a healthy choice. Some days I’ll eat chips and some days I’ll eat kale. It’s all about getting the right balance that you can maintain for life.
Who do you look to in the blogging and/or fitness industry for inspiration?
Brit, I honestly look up to you. I love your drive and enthusiasm. You make every workout so much fun and it’s clear you really care about your clients. That’s why I couldn’t think of a better person to partner with for The Lean Body Jumpstart! I also look up to Massy Arias because she is just so super fit and incredible, and also Nicole Mejia because I love her figure. I have a similar shape to her so it is great to have found a fitspiration with thick thighs and a petite torso. The goal is to be as toned as her!
Now it’s your turn! Start your fitness journey today and join our growing community of The Lean Body Jumpstart challengers! Post your experiences and workouts using #LeanBodyJumpstart so you can connect with others following the programme. Good luck!